It’s easy for a company to says it’s customer focused, but it takes a crisis to see which organizations walk the talk. Two weeks ago some holiday deliveries from online retailers showed up late. When enraged customers demanded an explanation, it was a gut-check moment for the entire supply chain.
As Yahoo Finance’s Mike Santoli and I discuss in the attached video, one online retailer stepped up in a huge way while others proved the bottom line dominates day-to-day operations.
UPS (UPS) pointed a finger in the general direction of Mother Nature (“perfect storm”) and an unusually late Thanksgiving holiday. FedEx (FDX) implied that customers should stop whining about “minimal service disruptions.” Amazon (AMZN) quickly dished out $20 gift cards, paid for shipping and generally genuflected before its customers in contrition and shame.
Guess which of the three companies has the best-performing stock over the last 3 years. Don’t bother clicking. The answer is Amazon by a factor of six. It’s not that FedEx and UPS have been bad investments or are poorly run organizations. UPS and FedEx are marvels of logistical excellence. They just don’t stack up to Amazon when it comes to customer service. That’s ok; no one else does either.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has spent the better part of 20 years obsessing over being in complete command of every conceivable interaction consumers have with his company. Amazon was never a bookstore and Bezos’ much-hyped delivery scheme isn’t about drones. Amazon is about satisfying customers. They’re so good at it that buying something with One Click has become the equivalent of punching an elevator button. It doesn’t even occur to you that something could go wrong.
If Bezos ran an elevator company he’d have you at your floor within 10 minutes even if it meant sending a team of burly man-servants to carry you up the stairs. UPS and FedEx would issue press releases citing the work of Isaac Newton.
Here’s the thing: UPS and FedEx’s real customer isn’t you and me. It’s Amazon. Bezos is terrifying the grocery industry with AmazonFresh, but it’s the shippers who should really be trembling. Amazon doesn’t care about produce any more than it cared about books. It’s focused on satisfying customers demanding ever-faster delivery.
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